Tag Archives: Greg Henningsen

Another memorable trip to Cuyuna: good for the body and spirit

Lobby, Country Inn Deerwood Lobby, Country Inn Deerwood Lobby, Country Inn Deerwood
I had a consulting gig in Brainerd last Thursday and my client put me up at the Country Inn in Deerwood, about 4 miles from the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails. Of course I brought my bike, even though my shoulder was still giving me a little trouble. I was hoping for a miraculous Cuyuna Cure. I was a bit stunned when I walked into the lobby of the inn to see a virtual shrine to mountain biking. Evidently the owner, Dan Brown, is a biker and has experienced an economic bump from all the mountain bikers flocking to the area. I didn’t get to meet him but I suspect it’ll be Real Soon Now.

High school mountain bike racing meeting at Cuyuna Gary Sjoquist presenting high school mountain bike racing at Cuyuna Gary Sjoquist, Jenny Smith John Schaubach, Griff Wigley, Steve Weber; photo by Jenny Smith
On Thursday night, I stopped by the Heartwood in Crosby where Minnesota High School Cycling League director Gary Sjoquist was doing his high school MTB racing presentation, as there will be a Cuyuna area team next season. I ran into two of my Cuyuna geezer pals, John Schaubach and Steve Weber, and Cycle Path and Paddle proprietor Jenny Smith snapped the photo of us (above right) doing the smartphone dance.  I arranged to go for an early morning ride on Friday with John.

John Schaubach and Griff Wigley at Cuyuna John Schaubach, Cuyuna overlook Nick Statz and John Schaubach
The day dawned cool, clear, and still.  With the fall colors, it could not have been a more perfect morning. We took Easy Street to Mucker Mountain and then Little Sidewinder over to Hopper Hill where we ran into Dirt Boss Nick Statz doing trail work. The cool thing about riding with John is that he’s a walking history book of the Cuyuna Lakes area, having grown up there.  And as a member of the the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail Crew, he’s intimately involved in all aspects of the park’s development. So every time we stopped for a break, I got an education.

Scott Christensen and Greg HenningsenJohn stayed on to help Nick and a short time later, I ran into Twin Cities area mountain bikers Greg Henningsen and Scott Christensen who were up for the day. My shoulder was feeling stronger than I expected (thank you, ibuprofen) so I followed them around for hours. By 5 pm, I’d ridden every trail in both the Mahnomen and Yawkey Units (insets B and D on the revised Cuyuna DNR map, now with directional arrows on the trails).

It was one of those it-doesn’t-get-any-better-than-this days that I’m still savoring. Thank you, Cuyuna.

Wed. night at the MN River Bottoms

Downed tree at mile marker 11 Downed tree at 9 Mile Creek John Seery, Greg Henningsen, and Michael Knoll
It was raining here in Rice County yesterday afternoon but a glance at the radar showed that the showers were sliding to the northeast. So I headed to the MN River Bottoms instead, parking at the 35W/Lyndale lot and heading west.

I wondered how much traffic that portion of the trail was getting when I encountered a newly downed tree (left photo) at MORC mile marker 11 and only saw a few tire tracks around it.  When I got to 9 Mile Creek, I discovered that there was no easy way to cross. The ice was gone, the raft was not yet in place, the water was too high to ride through and too cold to wade through, and I wasn’t thrilled about carrying my bike over the big downed tree (center photo) by myself.

On my way back, I lucked out.  Greg Henningsen, John Seery, and Michael Knoll (Michael’s Cycles in Prior Lake were preparing to head out for their regular Wed. night ride. After taking the blurry photo on the right,  I joined them.  Other than a couple of muddy spots on the riverside trail, it was clear sailing. I got a darn good workout trying to keep up with them, too.